Green Building News

Denver Will Vote on a Green Roof Initiative

Posted on October 27, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A proposal facing Denver voters next month would require developers of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to cover part of the roof with vegetation or solar panels.

In September, environmental activists narrowly won the right to place the Denver Green RoofRoof system in which living plants are maintained in a growing medium using a membrane and drainage system. Green roofs can reduce storm-water runoff, moderate temperatures in and around the building (by providing insulation and reducing heat island effect), as well as provide a habitat for wildlife and recreational space for humans. When properly constructed, green roofs can increase roof durability because the roof assembly’s air and water barriers are buffered from temperature fluctuations and UV exposure. Initiative before voters by collecting just 45 more petition signatures than they needed, The Denver Post reported.

Creating a New Tool for Builders

Posted on October 24, 2017 by Scott Gibson

By this time next year, if all goes well, builders will be able to tap into a unique source of online advice for designing exterior walls that deliver high energy efficiency with minimal risk.

Building Science Advisor, already in the works for a year and a half, is still at least six months away from completion. But when it’s up and running, the interactive website will blend real-world advice with computer simulations to help builders choose the least risky path to high-performance.

An Unlikely Bastion of Renewable Energy

Posted on October 19, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Texas is conservative oil and gas country, but that hasn't prevented city officials in Georgetown, Texas, including its "good little Republican" mayor, from moving the city-owned electric utility to an all renewable future.

Swiss Team Wins Solar Decathlon

Posted on October 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A team representing four Swiss schools emerged as the overall winner in this year's Solar Decathlon in Denver, Colorado, with an entry called "NeighborHub."

The biennial competition included a total of 11 student teams this year, two of them from Europe, that have been at work for nearly two years designing and building solar-powered demonstration homes. In addition to competing for the overall winner's title, teams also were judged in 10 separate areas, such as architecture, market potential, innovation, and engineering.

Judge Tosses Lumber Complaint

Posted on October 12, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A federal judge in Illinois has dismissed a case brought against a lumber retailer by customers who claimed that labels on dimensional lumber were misleading.

Tiny Houses Hit a Neighborhood Roadblock

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Scott Gibson

A house flipper turned developer in Charlotte, North Carolina, thinks that his plan for a subdivision of tiny houses will be a boon for first-time home buyers and people hoping to downsize. However, some of his neighbors are more concerned about the potential impact on their own property values.

Interest in Green Building is On the Rise

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Scott Gibson

More U.S. builders are climbing aboard the green bandwagon.

A new survey from the National Association of Home Builders and Dodge Data & Analytics shows that interest in building both single-family and multifamily projects to green standards has climbed slightly in the last two years and is headed toward wider adoption over the next five years.

Solar Industry Offers Help in Puerto Rico

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria caused widespread destruction on Puerto Rico, many island residents are still without housing, basic services, and electricity.

To Prove a Point, Melt Some Ice

Posted on September 28, 2017 by Scott Gibson

Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. advocates in the Pacific Northwest have organized an unusual public demonstration aimed at proving just how much energy can be saved with superinsulation and airtight design, a contest not unlike a county fair come-on where visitors are asked to guess how many pebbles will fit into a one-gallon jar.

Only in this case it's how much of an original ton of ice will be left after sitting inside an unrefrigerated building in the middle of summer for several weeks.

Solar Ruling Prompts Industry Jitters

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Scott Gibson

The news was not entirely unexpected, but last week's ruling that U.S. solar manufacturers have been harmed by cheap imports has opened the door to new tariffs and prompted warnings that job losses and higher prices will follow.

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